Innovative Programs in Blended Learning

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March 23, 2012 Many of you may recall the Girard Charter ordeal last year in San Diego Unified. Girard supported the development of a charter school in SDUSD with a blended learning model. Unfortunately, they began the approval process right as two new board members were seated, which caused great strife in the charter community. SDUSD has been working with us since then to collaboratively address board member issues but Girard got caught in the middle of all this, and decided there might be a better way to get their innovative blended learning model launched.

The Gompers Blended Learning Program pilot is a year-long project currently being conducted at Gompers Preparatory Academy (GPA) through a grant from the Girard Foundation. "Blended Learning," is an approach that combines face-to-face and computer-based instruction with a goal of accelerating student learning and closing the achievement gap by using technology to differentiate instruction. In the Gompers pilot project, cohorts of 60 students each in both the 6th and 7th grades have been randomly assigned to the blended learning program. Their growth in academic performance over the year is being compared to students' growth in the non-blended GPA classrooms. In addition, qualitative information is being collected on the effectiveness of the various components of the blended model (e.g., the online curricula, the differentiated learning, the use of ongoing assessment.)

The collaborative program evaluation is being conducted through a joint effort of GPA, CREATE UCSD, and Girard Foundation and combines the best thinking of both researchers and practitioners in real time.

Looking forward to the results of this pilot program.

Lisa Berlanga
Regional Director